Weekend Movies: In a Mirror, Darkly

This weekend may offer all sorts of counter programming, but that doesn’t quite mean that any of it is worth watching.

Opening on just as many screens as last week’s ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ is the animated sequel that no one asked for, ‘Rio 2‘. All of the forgettable characters and the dull voiceover cast from the first ‘Rio‘ are back. Not only must the boring lead bird (Jesse Eisenberg) go up against one of the villains from the first movie, but he has to survive meeting his in-laws. I’d rather be poached than watch an animated version of ‘Meet the Parents’, which is why I was ecstatic when I realized that I couldn’t attend this press screening.

The second-widest release of the weekend is Summit Entertainment’s topical sports drama ‘Draft Day‘. Kevin Costner stars in his third movie of 2014 as the general manager of a failed NFL team. With hours to go until the draft officially kicks off, he must finagle his way into a position to build an amazing team while keeping his job, his family and the team’s fans. Ivan Reitman’s latest picture isn’t exactly a draft you need to dodge, but it will take a true die-hard NFL fan to love it.

Next is the low budget, haunted mirror horror flick ‘Oculus‘. Starring Karen Gillan from ‘Doctor Who’ and Katee Sackhoff from ‘Battlestar Galactica’, the film’s first weekend should definitely bring out the geeks. The disturbing tale follows a pair of siblings who revisit traumatic childhood memories and confront pure evil for the sake of closure. Expect a lot of content borrowed from Stephen King’s ‘IT’ and ‘1408’.

After making the festival rounds, Jim Jarmusch’s vampire drama ‘Only Lovers Left Alive‘ will hit four screens thanks to Sony Pictures Classics. Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton play a pair of depressed undead lovers who reunite in Detroit, only to have family (Mia Wasikowska) complicated their age-old love. This appears to be in the same vein as Neil Jordan’s ‘Interview with the Vampire’ and ‘Byzantium’, both of which I loved.

Another festival favorite, David Gordon Green’s ‘Joe‘ will be released to 48 screens by Roadside Attractions. A bearded Nicolas Cage plays an ex-con business owner who hires a teenager and his drunken old man for his crew. When the dad’s abuse become apparent, Cage’s goodness comes out. Even though his intentions are good, his past may put his future at risk. Fans of the director’s early work (before he segued into a career making stoner comedies) may see some potential in his latest film.

Finally, believe it or not, Sony Pictures Classics is expanding ‘The Raid 2‘ to 944 screens. That’s more than enough to officially qualify as a wide release. To all the fans of ‘The Raid‘ who’ve eagerly anticipated the sequel, enjoy!

3 comments

  1. Deaditelord

    Much to my surprise and delight, The Raid 2 actually opened fairly close to where I live so I was able to check it out earlier today. While the bloated running time leads to some pacing issues early on, once certain events are finally set into motion around the halfway point the Raid 2 erupts into hyper violent overdrive with one action set piece after another until the end credits roll. It’s all pretty spectacular to behold and considering that most of these sequences were achieved without CGI, I once again was left to marvel at how director Gareth Evans and the incredible stunt team were able to pull it off without significant injury or killing themselves. Seriously, the brutality on display here is off the charts!

    Speaking of which, how in the world did this “edited” theatrical version manage to earn an R rating from the MPAA??? Here I thought the theatrical version of the recent Evil Dead remake warranted an NC-17, but the level of extreme carnage throughout the Raid 2 manages to leave Evil Dead in its dust. Did the MPAA somehow miss the hammer girl train massacre or the numerous other instances of graphic slicing and dicing in the last hour? If not, they surely must have fallen asleep during the shotgun scene near the end.

    Anyway, overall I found the Raid 2 to be a mostly successful continuation of the original film and am definitely on board for part 3 whenever it gets made.

  2. Chris B

    Prediction time! Captain America will hold onto the top spot, Rio 2 will come in second and Draft Day will bomb..HARD. It’ll be lucky to even crack the top 5. Honestly whose the target audience for that movie? Sports fans? It doesn’t even have any athletic scenes in it for pete’s sake! Costner is gonna have one rough year…

    • T.J. Kats

      I was saying this to my wife earlier today. I see commercials for Draft Day all the time but I have no idea who is supposed to see it. Doesn’t seem to be inside enough to get sports fans and it doesn’t seem to have any comedic or romance elements to bring in those audiences either. Seems like a make believe 30 for 30 and why watch a fake when you can just watch a real one of those.

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